Minturn fee would pay for fire services
Minturn, CO Colorado
MINTURN, Colorado “-New residents and developers are likely going to pay for Minturn’s fire and emergency needs in the future.
The Town Council accepted a proposal from the Eagle River Fire Protection District Wednesday night to impose impact fees on new developments and any existing home that changes its water meter size. The estimated fee is $1,671, but that can be changed by the council.
The fees will pay for the increased services the district will provide. It’s anticipated there will be a need for a new fire station and more employees and equipment in coming years, and the fees would pay for those types of expenses.
“We know there’s a lot more growth coming in the future. It’s that additional infrastructure we’re going to need beyond today that we’re talking about,” district Fire Chief Charlie Moore said. “If there’s no growth, then we don’t collect the fees because you don’t have the impact.”
Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty wasn’t completely sold on adding another bill to taxpayers who already pay for fire services. He also said the town donated a fire station and equipment to the district several years ago.
“That, in my mind, counts for something,” he said. “Right now, the people that you are going to hit is the people in old Minturn. I can’t see hooking them for $1,600 or more.”
Fire district board of directors member Michael Gallagher said unless people modify their existing homes in a way that would warrant the fee, they won’t get hit with that added cost. He likened it to a water tap fee.
“It’s a new use fee for the fire service, as a tap fee covers a new use for a water service,” he said. “It’s not likely to get the folks that have lived in old town for a while.”
The amount for the fee isn’t arbitrary, either. The district hired a consultant to make projections on growth and the needs of its coverage area. The final number came to a $12 million need by 2026, and that doesn’t even cover all the district’s projected costs.
“It goes to very much-needed capital,” Gallagher said.
The rest of the council was on board with the fee.
“It’s a reasonable thing on the part of the fire protection district to be able to get more funds for this as there are more needs. We all need good fire protection,” council member Jerry Bumgarner said. “I think this is the way. You’ve got to pay for service.”
At its next meeting, the council will move to sign a resolution to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the district. To make the fees official, the council must approve an ordinance.
Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.